Why You Need to Test Tech Candidates to Get the Right Fit

Created: Thursday, October 17, 2019, posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 10:00 am

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By Gurvinder Singh, TechRank

The digital tech sector is dynamic. This means that to fuel growth businesses need to recruit the right people with the right skills. Hiring can be difficult for two reasons: the nature of the candidates themselves, and, a recruitment process that simply isn’t good enough.

Technology people tend to be either: extroverts who can talk a good game, but often don’t have the skills to back up their claims; or introverts with great skills, but a lack of salesmanship that will get them through the interview process successfully. Resumés and interviews rarely tell the whole story. This dichotomy of resumés and skills makes recruitment in the tech sector extremely difficult.

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Image: Scopio

This leads to a recruitment process led by gut feel and intuition rather than facts and hard data – twice. First, the recruitment agency will intuitively pick the candidates they feel best suit the role you are looking to fill, followed by the recruiting manager doing exactly the same thing.

This is why testing tech candidates is now essential. By finding out the true depth and breadth of their skills, you stop several problems.

Choosing from the Pool of Candidates

When a tech firm needs to fill a vacancy because it is holding up growth, there is a tendency to recruit someone from the candidates presented, even if there is nobody that properly matches their needs. If they have to pick from a pool of intuition-based candidates, there is a real risk of putting the wrong person into their team. A recruitment decision on hard data will not only put more of the right candidates into that pool but ensure the chosen one really does fit the needs of the business.

Finding the Fit

Adding tech staff into a team, particularly in a high-growth technology business, often means that new hire needs a blend of skills, across a range of technologies. Full stack developers, for example, will be expected to have a wide range of skills across the front and back-ends, as well as UX and customer-facing skills. Recruiters will assume that Cloud Systems Engineers know Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure and other platforms so they can contribute across the needs of their client base.

Balancing the skills pool across multiple staff may mean that you are looking for skills across multiple technologies, but with an emphasis, or depth of knowledge, in one or two; skills that maintain equilibrium within the business and allow the business to meet expected future demand.

With over 1.5 million people working in the digital tech sector in the UK, finding the person that will fit precisely into the business is nigh on impossible without an accurate assessment of the real skills a candidate has.

Reducing Time Wasted

Recruiting anyone takes time. Writing a job description (if one doesn’t already exist), choosing and briefing the agency, sifting through CVs and then interviewing. They all use up a lot of expensive time, often from more than one person. Managers are often in place because they are great at managing projects and people, but they may lack the specific knowledge to assess a candidate’s skills. Pulling a developer off their project to do this uses up time and slows down the delivery of that project.

If this process has to be repeated more than once because of a poor hire, the costs multiply. Up to three times that person’s salary can be wasted if they are the wrong person.

The Impact on Staff Morale

Bringing the wrong person into a business can negatively impact the business, particularly the morale in the office. Someone with the wrong skills means others have to take up the slack, or projects are delivered later than expected. Staff not used to this happening may start to believe that standards are being allowed to slip within the business, leading to a decline in their productivity or the quality of their output.

If this is allowed to continue, there is a high chance that the best developers will start looking for better opportunities elsewhere. A cascade effect like this can be hugely damaging to a business, both reputation-wise and financially.

The Right Hire Delivers for Everyone

So far, we’ve considered the negatives; the consequences of a poor hiring decision brought about by a process that is no longer fit for purpose. Making the right hire delivers in a range of ways…

  1. Growth enabler: adding capacity to a team, with the right skills, allows a company to grow as they simply have more of what their target audience needs and wants.
  2. Reputation Enhancer: the right skillset means projects are delivered on time, on budget and to, at least, the standards expected by the client. Happy clients talk and reputations are enhanced.
  3. Staff retention improvement: companies that recruit the right people (and look after them) often only need to recruit for growth, not to replace leavers. Happy staff stay where they are respected, supported and fit well into the community.
  4. Productivity improvements: the closer the overall skills mix is to what is needed, the more smoothly a business will run. Smooth-running businesses are always more productive and more profitable.

To take the example, the UK tech economy shows no signs of slowing down. This means companies are in a constant battle to find the tech people they need to keep growing. Avoiding hiring on gut feel and instead basing decision on hard data is the best way to find the right people for the team and ensure the company can fuel its growth.

Gurvinder Singh
Gurvinder Singh is the co-founder of TechRank. TechRank sources, expertly tests and objectively ranks tech talent helping companies hire the best, and most capable person for the job. By testing candidates for the level of skill the position requires, businesses can make an objective decision about the person they hire to fill a vacant tech role.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company.


1. UK tech sector growing 2.6 times faster than overall economy

2. The Nationality of Workers in the UK’s Digital Tech Industries

3. 3 serious consequences of a bad hire

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